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Monday, June 29, 2015

Agony by E. Michael Lewis [4 stars]



From the Description:

I did it because they deserved it. I did it because I deserved it.

Thomas “Agony” Agonetti: torturer, rapist, serial killer, executed by the state for his crimes. They say his ghost haunts his old stalking grounds, the decaying Twin Lakes Mall. Trevor Westmoreland, a security guard with some imagination, agrees to work the night shift, cruising in circles through vast empty parking lots, warding off trouble. But when a shopper who was Agony’s type disappears, followed by another security guard, the stories of the ghost seem all too real. Now Trevor must do what the police never could: find Agony’s hidden torture chamber and put an end to his killing streak, once and for all.

I received a copy of this novella in exchange for  honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

Agony is a creepy little ghost story! This short story has it all. A dead serial killer haunting a dying mall, great characters, and tons of spooky atmosphere.To me there is something eerie about an empty mall or parking lot, especially at night. The tunnels beneath the mall were very claustrophobic as well. This gave Agony a scare factor before the haunting even started. Trevor is a slightly nerdy security guard trying to deal with both the bullies he works with, and the ghost of Agony. I really liked his character, but my favorite was Chrissy. She is a kick-ass heroine who's ready to help Trevor stop the murders. This was a really fast paced and fun story. I couldn't put it down until I turned the last page. I would love to see what E. Michael Lewis does in a full length novel because his short stories are great. A solid 4 star read.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Scarecrows by Christine Hayton [2.5 stars]



From the Description:

They do more than frighten birds. Much more.

Early one morning in the fall of 1964, Robert searched for his missing six-year-old daughter, Cathy. He found her asleep in a nearby cornfield, covered in blood and holding a small axe. A few feet away lay the mutilated body of her classmate Emily.
Assumed guilty of murder, Cathy lived in a hospital for insane children. She always gave the same account of what happened. She talked of murderous scarecrows that roamed the cornfield on moonlit nights. Her doctors considered her delusional. The police, her neighbors and the press thought she was dangerous. And so she remained incarcerated. No one believed her. That was a mistake.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story.

Scarecrows can be very frightening so I was really looking forward to reading this. Especially since the other novella's in the Childhood Fears series have been fantastic. This one not so much. I enjoyed the premise more than the actual execution of this story. The story jumped around through different years which made it very disjointed to me. Some of the elements in this story were well written which made the parts that weren't more noticeable. The ghosts and the scarecrows could have been so scary! My biggest problem with this story was with Cathy, one of the main characters. She's supposed to be a traumatized seven or eight year old girl. She spoke like an adult, and the other characters spoke to her like an adult. Even precocious children are still child-like, more so when frightened or upset. I really wanted to like this novella, unfortunately it just didn't live up to it's promise. I can only give this one 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monster by Keith Ferrario [2.5 stars]



From the Description:


They're the only humans. But they're not alone. Adam Hayes pilots a small team to a remote Antarctic research station. Their mission: to investigate the loss of communications. Once there, the group of five find the station deserted, the radio smashed, and several strange piles of empty clothing. Forced to stay the night by a blinding snowstorm, they set out to solve the mystery of the missing crew. Eventually they will learn the horrifying truth-the station is not empty after all, and something unimaginable, dug up from the deep ice, roams the complex. Now they must fight for their lives against a cunning, thinking monster-and those who would unleash this terror on the rest of the world.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel.

Monster was a hard read for me. The first part should have been great since I love the whole trapped in a hostile environment with something trying to eat you thing. The setting was there, the monster was there, but then we get to the characters. In most stories like this you have at least one kick-ass character who's ready to save the day. With Monster you get characters who are more focused on the big, scary guns than the fact that something is picking them off for lunch. The characters refusal to get over their aversion to guns in order to protect themselves was just ridiculous to me. It's like a ripped off version of The Thing without Kurt Russell. Part two was totally different from part one. You don't see any of the characters from part one until the last few pages. It focused on three children and a doctor at an experimental clinic. The children all have terminal illnesses that the secretive staff at The Hamline Clinic are trying to cure. But of course their really doing deadly experiments. I can say that I enjoyed the writing in part two more  than the first part but only by comparison. I can't really recommend this 2.5 star book.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Exile: Guy Erma And The Son Of Empire Book 3 by Sally Ann Melia [4 stars]



From the Description:

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a new three-part action adventure, set a long time ago on a planet far far away.

" Someone somewhere had decided Sas Darona plague could be used as a weapon."


"They called them poison pills, and in some cases the glass eco-systems containing six venomous flies were displayed as part of contemporary interior decor.

Strange!" Karl Valvanchi mused, "When you consider the insects are practically unstoppable and breed exponentially into great clouds of death. These plague weapons went beyond deadly. They were planet-killers."

13-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?
13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.
Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other? Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets??

The paths of Teodor Freyne and Guy Erma have now become one, their fate becomes that of the Empire they were born to when they discover a hidden terror.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review from Iread book tours. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.



Exile, part three of the Guy Erma trilogy was easily my favorite in the series. Full of excitement and adventure, I was hooked from the beginning. While some of the themes in this book might not be suitable for younger children, older kids and adults will enjoy Prince Teodor and Guy Erma's daring escape and race to the Magnolia  Palace. Along the way they must learn to trust each other if they hope to survive and save the rest of the planet from the insidious plot to destroy the planet. There was only one thing I didn't enjoy about this book. It left me with more questions than answers. I hope that Sally Ann Melia answers them by continuing this enjoyable series. A fast and fun 4 star read.




Friday, June 19, 2015

Little Girls by Ronald Malfi [5 stars]

 








From the Description:



From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a brilliantly chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn…


When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, and hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…


At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?

I received an ARC of this novel from the fantastic Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi at Oh, For The Hook Of A Book as part of the Little Girls Blog Tour. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel.







When I was invited to be part of the Little Girls blog tour I jumped at the chance. I have been a fan of Ronald Malfi ever since I shivered my way through Snow and Floating Staircase. Little Girls once again proves that Malfi is a master at crafting a great story. I can't recommend his work enough.



What an incredible ghost story! Little Girls grabs you and drags you kicking and screaming down a dark and twisted path. The story is griping and atmospheric with a creeping sense of dread. I couldn't put it down. The main character, Laurie is incredibly realistic. When I first started reading I really didn't like her. I thought she was a cruel and self centered witch. As the story went on I began to think that maybe she was troubled, I started to feel bad for her and wonder what could have made her act the way she did to both her father and the rest of her family. By the end of the book I got it. Much like a 'real' person the twists and events revealed new facets of her personality and life which changed the way I viewed her and her actions. The things that are haunting Laurie are frightening and disturbingly realistic. It's not often that a story comes alive this way. If you're a fan of horror or just really great reads, do yourself a favor and grab this book! You might want to leave the lights on for this 5 star read.


Little Girls comes out on June 30. You can pre-order/buy the book anywhere books are sold or follow the links here to Amazon or Barnes & Noble


Giveaway


Sign up to win one of two paperback copies of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi by clicking the link to the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to follow the specifics you can do each day to gain more entries.


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Praise for Ronald Malfi and his novels

"One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King."
—FearNet

"Malfi is a skillful storyteller."—New York Journal of Books

"A complex and chilling tale….terrifying."—Robert McCammon

"Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting."—Publishers Weekly

"A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed."—Suspense Magazine







Ronald Malfi, Biography


Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller categories from various publishers, including Little Girls, this summer’s 2015 release from Kensington.

In 2009, his crime drama, Shamrock Alley, won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery novel, Floating Staircase, was a finalist for the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award for best novel, a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel, and the Vincent Preis International Horror Award. His novel Cradle Lake garnered him the Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award (silver) in 2014. December Park, his epic childhood story, won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for suspense in 2015.

Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi's dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres. 

 He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, and eventually relocated to the Chesapeake Bay area, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.

Visit with Ronald Malfi on Facebook, Twitter (@RonaldMalfi), or at http://www.ronmalfi.com/





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Sacrifist by T. Mason Gilbert [4 stars]


From the Description:

Sir Randolph Barrington hires a mountaineer to look for his son who has disappeared, leaving nothing but a lot of blood in the snow on Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third tallest mountain in the world. Was it the fabled yeti? Any witnesses aren't talking. Torleif Günner, who guided the expedition in which Rand disappeared, meets with Dane "Lake" Nielsen and forwards Sir Randolph's terms. Dane has been hiding out at his ranch in Leadville, Colorado since an avalanche accident, but money talks.

Dane and Torleif organize an expedition to find Rand's remains. Before Dane leaves, he receives a strange call from a woman warning him not to go. Meanwhile, the High Lama of a monastery near Kangchenjunga sends his emissary, the Sacrifist, to the Sherpa guide who is heading up the crew used by Dane. The guide agrees to take the Sacrifist along, disguised as a porter for the expedition, but has no idea what the Sacrifist's intentions are. Is he a monk? He doesn't look like one. Besides these competing factions, Sir Randolph has also hired the TV show host of 'Big Game, Big Times' to look for the animal who attacked his son.

Will Rand or his remains be found? Who will find the beast first? Who will die?


I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

The Sacrifist is an action packed thrill ride that takes an interesting look at the Yeti. The storyline was a fast paced and fun adventure. The characters are believable and for the most part likeable. I really liked Dane, Torleif, and Phurba. The locations and use of real legends and myths made it easy to get lost in this novel. I loved the Ojibwa lore and traditions that were included along with the Buddhist legends. It made the story deeper and more complex. The Yeti's were also well done, I didn't feel as though I was reading the typical sci-fi Abominable Snowman fare. I'm looking forward to seeing what T. Mason Gilbert does with part two of the trilogy. A solid 4 star read.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Evil Of Oz by Ryan Fuller (writer) & Sanjana Baijnath (artist) [3 stars]


From the Description:

A horror sequel to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Journey with Dorothy through a much darker vision of Oz.



I received a copy of this graphic novel from Word Slinger Publicity in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

Growing up I watched The Wizard of Oz every time it was on TV and read the book several times. So when I was offered this graphic novel for review as a horror loving adult I agreed. I have to say that the artwork in this book is exquisite! The artist, Sanjana Baijnath, brought the story to life with her brilliant use of color and shadow. The art alone makes this a standout for me. The storyline is a dark and twisted return to Oz that proves that the flying monkeys weren't the scariest creature in the land. I liked the story but found the dialogue to be a little rhyme-y for my tastes. An ok read but I would still recommend this 3 star read just for the illustrations.

 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finders Keepers by Stephen King [5 stars]



From the Description:

A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

I have been a 'Constant Reader' since I was a little girl, reading Salem's Lot under the blankets by flashlight. One of the great things about a Stephen King story is it grabs you and places you into the story while the rest of the world disappears. Finders Keepers is no exception. It hooked me from the first page and before I knew it I was halfway through the book. Set in the universe of Mr. Mercedes, we get to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. One of the things I love about King's characters is that they are us. Realistic and believable with the same problems and worries that most of us have,,, that is until the extraordinary happens. I even had moments of sympathy for Morris Bellamy, who is unapologetically sociopathic. The monsters in Finders Keepers are real, no supernatural horrors here, but most of the time the everyday evils are scarier. If you are looking for a great book I would recommend grabbing Finders Keepers. A fantastic 5 star read.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Through A Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia [4.5 stars]



From the Description:

Through a Mirror, Darkly is a Supernatural Thriller collection masked as a novel. With elements of mystery, suspense, and otherworldly horror, Through a Mirror, Darkly successfully delves into the worlds of Lovecraft, Grant, and the mysterious Carcosa.

“Arcane Delights. Clifton Heights' premier rare and used bookstore. In it, new owner Kevin Ellison has inherited far more than a family legacy, for inside are tales that will amaze, astound, thrill...and terrify.

An ancient evil thirsty for lost souls. A very different kind of taxi service with destinations not on any known map. Three coins that grant the bearer's fondest wish, and a father whose crippling grief gives birth to something dark and hungry.

Every town harbors secrets. Kevin Ellison is about to discover those that lurk in the shadows of Clifton Heights

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

Kevin Lucia has done it again! When I read his novel Things Slip Through I was hooked. Now in Through A Mirror, Darkly he takes us back to the town of Clifton Heights, a place with more than it's fair share of secrets and oddities. The stories found here are captivating. Kevin Lucia is a master storyteller who takes the ordinary and twists it until it is dark and at times terrifying. All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully entertaining. Some are scary while others are filled with a haunting sadness that stays with you long after you finish this book. My two favorites in this collection were Admit One & And I Watered It, With Tears. Both deal with love and loss but in very different and somewhat horrifying ways. So come visit Clifton Heights, but be careful, because some things are not what they seem. A fabulous 4.5 star read.

Through A Mirror, Darkly is available HERE

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Pariahs by Erik Hofstatter [4 stars]



From the Description:

Two disfigured siblings are torn from their beds at night by The Government and transported into an isolated stronghold, hidden in the deepest and most hostile parts of Siberia.

Friendships will be formed and loyalties tested as the siblings struggle to locate one another, but tragedy lurks within the stronghold and blood relation does not always mean family. Destinies are interwoven and fates collide in this explosive novella from Erik Hofstatter, author of the acclaimed Moribund Tales.

I received this eBook in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novella.

The Pariahs is a very sad and disturbing story. It show the inhumanity that people can have toward those who are considered different. Akilina and her big brother, Demyan, are taken in the night by sadistic government agents who want to experiment on people who suffer deformities from the Chernobyl disaster. The way Erik Hofstatter wrote these characters was brilliant. I really cared about what was happening to them. Not an easy thing to accomplish in a 90 page novella. This is a fast read not only because of the length but because the story moves quickly and I wanted to know what happened next. The only thing I didn't like about this story was the ending. I wanted more! What happens to Akilina? What is the experimental drug supposed to do? I need the rest of the story!! This is a great story and I plan to read more from Erik Hofstatter in the future. A solid 4 star read.